American Scandinavian Society Portfolio
While I've been making pictures of Norway since 2013 (three trips ago), most of those you see here have been done in the last 2 1/2 years. Eleven are from a suite of 50 (now almost complete - see it HERE), portraying a mountain Nikolai Astrup also painted. The best known work, done in 1906, is at the Bergen Kunstmuseumn and is called Kollen (HERE it is). I've visited that painting often over the years, and have also been to Astruptunet (Astrup's farm and studio, now a museum) 3 times.
So far as I can tell, Nikolai's oddly symmetrical mountain has no name. That's not unusual. A whole lot of mountains remain nameless! An odd, pragmatic people these Norwegians; what's there is right there already; why does it need a name?
I'm not Norwegian though, so I'm apparently too curious? My favorite Vikings surely think so. I roam and explore and am always enchanted. Nikolai's mountain isn't hard to find. He exaggerated things quite a bit, but do you know what? So do I. It might not be possible to paint the truth otherwise. Of course, the whole truth of the fjord and mountain country is overpowering; with its dark, long winter nights and sharp, etched summer sunlight; its weather careening in off the North Sea and folding over the land, the incredible geology, erosion and sooooo much water everywhere. I've watched new clouds being born off of misty, timbered mountainsides and felt along for footing through fernbrakes taller than I am. How do I paint things like that? How do I paint experience?
It may just be too much, yet I've started trying. At least I'm past letting that landscape intimidate me. Perhaps some day, in hindsight, my attempt to portray Norway will be seen as a defining effort of my creative pursuit. I'm almost certain it will be.